You know how it is, we Italians love our tomato sauce! And when I started the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) and when first heard about “Nomato” (an AIP tomato free pasta sauce) I was quite concerned.
Tomatoes, especially when it comes to cooking Italian food, are a true staple and one of the quintessential ingredients of Pizza Margherita and Pasta Bolognese!
BUT, when health issues are involved and there is a nightshade intolerance, matters of flavors are secondary and, with the right replacements, we can keep on enjoying all of our favorite dishes, only with a tomato free pasta sauce that’s completely AIP and free from gluten and dairy!!
Personally, I really enjoy the challenge of recreating traditional dishes with ingredients targeted for those with food allergies. I love the creativity that’s involved and the sensation of helping people who are struggling with serious diet limitations.
After a few attempts, I nailed a recipe for a tomato free pasta sauce that tastes like a marinara and that’s so good you’ll want to eat it even if you don’t have a nightshade intolerance!
Why Tomato Free? What's The Matter With Nigthshades?
You might be wondering what’s the need of creating a tomato free pasta sauce when we can make a regular marinara sauce?
Well, here’s the answer: nightshades (such as tomatoes, white potatoes, peppers and eggplants) contain a type of lectin that can increase intestinal permeability, as well as saponins, which are responsible for stimulating and exaggerating an immune response (read more about the science behind this HERE). For this reason, it’s better to avoid nightshades, at least during the elimination phase of the AIP, to then try to reintroduce them when the inflammation has switched off to see if they provoke a negative reaction.
PS: To know more about the foods TO INCLUDE and TO AVOID during the elimination phase of the Autoimmune Protocol, make sure to download the AIP Food List below.
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My goal with this recipe was to create a Nomato Sauce in which beet were not overpowering, the color was a bright scarlet red, and there was a hint of acidity and freshness that really recalled tomatoes.
I found that lemon and kabocha squash were the perfect addition to make my tomato free pasta sauce taste like the real thing. Whether you are on the autoimmune paleo protocol or not, this nightshade free marinara is a great condiment for grain free pizzas, pastas or for zucchini noodles like you see in these pictures.
"Nomato" AIP Tomato Free Pasta Sauce (GF, DF, Paleo)
- 1/2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/2 Red Beet
- 3 Carrots
- 1/3 Yellow Onion
- 1 clove of Garlic
- 1/4 Kabocha Squash (replaceable with any other types of squash you like)
- 1 tbsp Dried Italian Herbs
- Himalayan Salt
- 1/2 cup Water
- 5 leaves of fresh Sage
- 5 leaves of Basil
- 1/2 Lemon, juiced
- *OPTIONAL: 1 tbsp Capers OR 2 tbsp pitted Green Olives, thinly sliced
- Peel all the vegetables, cut them in small pieces and put them in a food processor pulsing until coarsely grated.
- Finely chop sage, garlic and onion.
- In a medium sized saucepan, heat up the olive oil. When it starts to sizzle, add in the chopped sage, garlic and onion and let them fry for a minute.
- Toss in the pan the grated vegetable mixture, together with the spices and dried herbs, and mix well.(If you like capers or green olives, you can add them in at this point).
- Add in some water, cover and let your Nomato Sauce cook over medium heat.
- Check on your sauce every 5 minutes to see if it needs more water.
- After it cooked for 30 minutes all the vegetables should be soft. Mash them with a fork to make your Nomato Sauce smoother.
- Add in the lemon juice and chopped fresh basil, mix well for about a minute and enjoy your amazing AIP tomato free pasta sauce!!
You can use this Tomato Free Pasta Sauce as the base to create more complex condiments, such ad Ragout (basically a bolognese sauce) or Arrabbiata, or you can simply use it plain. It has so much flavor that you won’t even know it’s tomato free!
Hope you love this recipe as much as I do, and if so, don’t forget to share it on your Facebook and pin it to your favorite Pinterest Boards!
Un bacione! Ambra
PS: If you are looking for more grain free and AIP compliant recipes, check out my “AIP Italian Cookbook” that features over 50 Autoimmune Paleo authentic Italian dishes and a fun AIP ingredient guide!!